Bodycam video of woman who died in Knoxville Police custody

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The Knoxville Police Department has released officer body camera footage of a woman who died in police custody earlier this month.
Lisa Edwards, 60, died at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center on Feb. 6 after she was arrested on trespassing charges when she refused to leave the hospital the day before. An autopsy determined that Edwards died of a stroke after collapsing in the back of a police cruiser.

Knoxville Police released the bodycam footage Thursday around 2 p.m., where the full one-hour-and-16-minute video can be seen. According to police, the video shows the “most pertinent video” of officers taking her into custody, and her in the car using the rear-facing camera from the time she was placed into the police cruiser until she was found unresponsive.

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The video may be difficult to watch and does show Edwards in distress. To view the footage, click here.

On Tuesday, the Knox County District Attorney’s Office announced that no charges were being filed against the officers involved. According to the DA’s office, Edwards died of natural causes and law enforcement interaction did not cause or contribute to her death, the office said in a press release.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said she flew to Knoxville from a nursing home in Rhode Island on Feb. 4. During the flight, she reported abdominal pain and was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital upon arrival. She was diagnosed with constipation before she was discharged, the TBI found.

She sought additional treatment on Feb. 4 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, where she was admitted and observed overnight. She was discharged around 7 a.m. but refused to leave, the DA’s office said.

Around 6:55 a.m. on Feb. 5, Edwards was discharged, the DA’s office said, but she refused to leave. Security officers issued a trespass warning for “Disruptive Behavior, Trespassing” to Edwards and then called the Knoxville Police Department. According to the release, Knoxville Police decided to arrest Edwards for criminal trespassing.

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Knoxville Police say that an ongoing internal administrative investigation is moving forward to determine if any department policies or procedures were violated. The involved officers, identified as Sergeant Brandon Wardlaw, Officer Adam Barnett, Officer Timothy Distasio and Transportation Officer Danny Dugan, are on paid leave, police say.

“The KPD extends its deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family of Lisa Edwards,” Knoxville Police said in the release.

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